After a long hiatus I have returned to writing and am loving it! I had been tinkering with things for a while, mostly little ideas, sometimes even getting to write things down (!) but now I have come back to writing with a renewed enthusiasm.
I was absolutely delighted to have my first submission in over five years accepted by Visual Verse . As usual they provided an amazing image for their prompt and I was delighted to be published along with so many excellent pieces. The reading of others’ work really inspires me to do more.
I have also taken the plunge to complete an MA in Creative Writing with the Open University. I am hoping it will develop my writing to help me get more pleasure from creating new stories.
Getting back to writing for me has meant getting more organised too. As a fairly organised person I feel that I can make time and space to write and read. This is so important to do – not just re-read and edit my own work but also to read other people’s work. A great source of inspiration in terms of encountering a range of different ideas, reading also allows me the time to absorb others’ writing style.
To get the most out of my writing, I have also got my work organised in my drive. I use google drive and I like to create folders for a variety of reasons. Folders, like drawers, keep things tidy, but it also means I can compartmentalise more easily. This helps me focus on a task.
What I also use to keep me focused and organised is a spreadsheet! I am on the bottom rung as far as spreadsheet skills go, but I find it a really useful tool to keep track of submissions. This evening I have been updating my spreadsheet and, although I have not been back to writing long, I have already submitted work to a variety of competitions and online platforms. Seeing this list of subs reminds me that I can write, that I do have something to say and hopefully other people will enjoy reading what I have written.
As I mentioned in last week’s post, about the police caution, we are going to discuss voluntary interviews this week.
This was the question that started us down this path, originally.
When someone is brought in for questioning with no evidence (as in you are still gathering and you ask them to help with your enquiries at the station) are they under caution and can they leave at any time?
So, the answer is, that you don’t just bring people into a police station for questioning with no evidence. No matter what the TV might tell you. You need grounds for arrest if you are arresting someone, and if someone is not under arrest, then they absolutely do not have to come with you to a police station. They don’t even have to talk to you.
There is a way to interview someone on record, though, who you may…
Issue 2 of The Nottingham Reviewis now available! Featuring original short stories by KM Elkes, Brent van Staalduinen, Samantha Baldassari, Neil Campbell, Jonathan Pinnock, Marie Hanna Curran, Matthew Jakubowski, Pam Plumb, and Flo Ward. Cover photograph by Masatoshi Hashiya.
Finally, after weeks of supressed excitement, I can share my news that my story ‘Memento Mori’ features in the Moth Publishing Northern Crime One anthology as one of twenty winning stories. It’s available as a Kindle download as well as in paperback from Amazon.
I wrote the story after attending the Northumbria University sponsored CrimeStory Weekend in 2014. A workshop I attended during the weekend, led by renowned crime author Margaret Murphy , gave me inspiration for the story. Soon after, Moth announced the competition for novelists and short story writers and I was able to submit my story.
It has been a long wait to find out if I was a winner, but well worth the wait! It’s wonderful to have my writing recognised as being worthy of publication. I hope you enjoy the stories in this fabulous anthology.
I’m delighted to have one of my stories out in the winter issue of The Nottingham Review. This issue offers nine wonderful stories, linked to a greater or lesser degree to the theme of winter. I hope you enjoy reading the stories.
Today I’m excited to welcome crime writer Anthony Schumacher to the blog to talk about his first draft process.
Tony lives in Liverpool England, his first two novels The Darkest Hour, and The British Lion have been published worldwide by Harper Collins and he is currently working on his third. Before writing he was a miserable failure at school, travelled the world, was a builder, a bar man, a bin man, and a British Bobby (he’s also had lots of jobs that didn’t begin with the letter “B” but they are far too many to list here).
He’s written for The Guardian, the Huffington Post, and both Liverpool and Manchester Confidential magazines. He’s been a stand-up comedian, acted in a movie you won’t have seen, and made some films for the BBC Politics Show. He can often be heard on BBC Radio, LBC radio and singing in the bath.
Finally I can come on to this blog and say, with a certain amount of pride, that the Literary Salmon team’s first project, The Casual Electrocution of Strangers, is available to download and read. By which I mean, for free.
I was thrilled to discover yesterday that I had won the Cockermouth Crime Writing competition. The winner was announced at the Kirkgate arts centre in Cockermouth during a performance by the judge Mark Billingham and the band My Darling Clementine. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend despite being offered free tickets. However, I had not heard anything from the organisers so assumed that I had not been successful. But yesterday I collected a parcel from the post office which contained a signed copy of Mark Billingham’s latest novel, a signed CD by the band and a further two free tickets for the Kirkgate!
What has made it so special is that it was judged by Mark Billingham and he thought my story was ‘gripping and intriguing’. This kind of recognition – from a major crime author- is so amazing and really gives me confidence that my writing is getting to a better standard – certainly in this case. It is such a great incentive to keep writing even when I can’t be bothered or think that something I’ve written is pure drivel.
It has taken me about four years to win a competition. I’ve been placed second before now for my story in Seaglass and Other Stories and had several pieces published, but it’s not the same as having actually won something. Up till now by greatest achievement is probably being longlisted in the Bristol Short Story competition. Many, many more times I have had stories rejected for publication or just not placed. As a new author, it’s so hard not to keep looking out for the results and thereby not working on something new. I am learning to ‘forget’ about a competition or submission and, although hopeful every time, I’m not hanging my hat on every one like I used to. That way the disappointment is limited and the surprise of success is even greater!
I am really pleased to have an extract of my YA novel ‘Akos Novus’ on @paragraphplanet today. The site publishes 75 words every day from all types of writers and all kinds of genres. Most writers use the 75 words to share their short ‘stories’ though the site also publishes novel extracts like mine. Here is a link to the site if you would like to see a new story everyday. They have an archive too so you could spend hours reading!
Here is a link to Amazon if you would like to check out my novel.
I was absolutely delighted to read my first review of my YA novel ‘Akos Novus’. The dream review that any writer would want after baring your soul (years of work!) to the world and holding your breath to see if anyone reads it or even notices!
It was doubly exciting to see that this reader actually GOT what I was trying to say – I feel that at least I’ve put my ideas across well and that is so rewarding. As most authors know – it’s not really about making money (too few sales yet to give up my day job) but about connecting with readers and sharing your work with an appreciative audience. If no=one else reads it at least I know one person has enjoyed it – what a feeling!
Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker
Genre; Non-Fiction (Writing)
When it comes to writing books, are you a “plotter” or a “pantser?” Is one method really better than the other?
In this instructional ebook, author Libbie Hawker explains the benefits and technique of planning a story before you begin to write. She’ll show you how to develop a foolproof character arc and plot, how to pace any book for a can’t-put-down reading experience, and how to ensure that your stories are complete and satisfying without wasting time or words.
Hawker’s outlining technique works no matter what genre you write, and no matter the age of your audience. If you want to improve your writing speed, increase your backlist, and ensure a quality book before you even write the first word, this is the how-to book for you.
I’m really excited to have been featured on novelist and short story writer Avril Joy’s website today as part of her ‘Writer’s Rooms’ section. I receive Avril’s weekly newsletter which contains details about writing opportunities and her writing thoughts. It was through reading about Ruby Speechley’s writing space that encouraged me to share my own ‘writing room’ which is just a corner of the living room!
Avril won the 2012 Costa Short Story competition with her fabulously subtle story ‘Millie and Bird’ which is also the title of her well-regarded short story collection.
You can sign up to receive Avril’s newsletter here .
Today I am excited to welcome Mary Kubica to the blog, as part of her Pretty Baby blog tour, to talk about her First Draft process. I absolutely adored The Good Girl – you can find my raving review Here and see how she made it onto my top 5 books of 2014 Here. – and Pretty Baby was one of my holiday reads which will be making it onto the blog next week.
Mary is the author of two novels, including PRETTY BABY (2015) and THE GOOD GIRL (2014), which is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature, and lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children. Mary enjoys photography, gardening, and caring for the animals at a local shelter.
When you decide to write something new, what is the first thing you…
It wasn’t intentional – not my plan at all, but after reading about the lack of diversity in YA literature I realised that my novel had “diverse” characters. Malorie Blackman quite rightly highlighted the dismal representation of a whole range of characters in #YA literature recently and I totally agree with her. But I didn’t intentionally set out to write a diverse novel. My characters, an English boy and a Muslim Iraqi girl, came about because of the story. The plot drove the characters into being, not the other way round. So the characters deal with issues that are relevant to them as people, not because of their background necessarily. Having said that, the novel addresses issues such as observing Ramadan, family heritage, history of a people, and others. As a white British female writer I didn’t think Can I get away with writing as a boy or as a Muslim girl?, I just felt I got to know my characters well enough to write them. It wasn’t some calculated mission to include diversity for diversity’s sake, just a happy coincidence. I hope that readers of my book enjoy the story for its own sake rather than thinking I’ve been busy ticking diversity boxes.
If you want to know more about my novel, you can click here
Out now – my first YA novel Akos Novus is now available on Amazon Kindle here
What if there was another planet? A secret planet. Powerful people want to send a genetically superior population to Akos Novus to start a new world. But others believe it is their planet discovered by an ancient astronomer hundreds of years ago. Teenagers Max and Layla discover a web of intrigue and lies and find themselves at the heart of a plot to be the first to re-discover this hidden planet. Set in modern day London with flashbacks to medieval Baghdad, this novel will challenge the way you think about the world as you know it.